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Burdekin regional summary

The Burdekin region covers approximately 141,000km² and is largely drained by the Burdekin River system. The main agricultural land use is grazing (90%), with sugarcane (1%) and horticulture (less than 0.01%) prevalent in coastal areas. The major threat from this land use is sediment and associated particulate (and some dissolved) nutrients from soil erosion, while some pesticide residues have also been detected in river runoff. The 2009–2010 year saw above median rainfall and discharges in the Burdekin region.

This report card measures progress from the 2009 baseline towards Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) goals and targets. It assesses the combined results of all Reef Plan actions up to June 2010. Report cards are produced as part of the Paddock to Reef program.

The regional Natural Resource Management body, NQ Dry Tropics, partners with industry groups to deliver training, extension support and financial incentives to landholders to accelerate best practice adoption of land management in the sugarcane, horticulture and grazing industries.


Key findings

  • The overall marine condition in 2009–2010 was poor. Inshore water quality was moderate, while seagrass meadows and coral reefs were poor.
  • Overall, progress towards Reef Plan targets has been encouraging; however, it will take time for these achievements to translate into improved marine condition.
  • 13% of graziers, 26% of horticulture producers and 14% of sugarcane growers have adopted improved land management practices.
  • The loss of riparian areas has slowed in recent years (2005–2009) indicating progress towards the Reef Plan target.
  • The greatest proportional catchment load reduction was the pesticide load with an estimated 225kg (10%) less.
  • The significant progress has been driven primarily by the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program along with Queensland Government and industry-led initiatives.

Table: Burdekin progress and status


Paddock to Reef program

The Paddock to Reef program, funded jointly by the Australian and Queensland Governments, is a highly innovative approach to integrating monitoring and modelling information on management practices, catchment indicators, catchment loads and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Progress towards targets


Last updated:
27 August, 2014
Last reviewed:
8 July, 2013

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